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FFXIV is a great game. I went in without too much in the way of expectations, but this game is awesome.
Obviously the controls are a bit crappy at the moment, having to use IJKL to rotate the camera easy as you run around - but the right mouse button works well for that as well, so it's not an overly annoying situation. You get used to those controls after a while. I assume they'll have customizable keybinding at launch, but for now, it's locked out, so can't change anything.
The combat is pretty cool. Seems a little slow at first with the one skill to use, but you quickly get a couple more as you complete the first main questline, and rank up your job. It fits the game well. Press F to enter active mode/unsheath your weapon, run up to the enemy and start pressing the corresponding number keys to use each attack. Each skill that's not just a normal attack takes a certain amount of TP that you build up quickly through your basic attacks, and you have to keep your stamina gauge within a certain limit (refills fast) in order to continuously attack without rest.
But I'm sure you all knew that already.
The meat and potatoes of this game is definitely the storyline and atmosphere. In my opinion, FFXI has the best atmosphere of any MMO out there, and FFXIV is following suit. Square-Enix really knows how to bring a world to life. The story is pretty compelling, and I didn't wanna stop playing just to keep going and see what happened. All of the NPC's from each of the different areas (You can choose to start in Limsa Lominsa, Gridania, or Ul'dah) have their own unique ways of talking (at least some of them) and assumed accents and stuff. Each starting area has its own storyline to follow, though they kinda all follow the same pattern when it comes to travelling around - there's just different events that unfold.
Though one thing that was a bit annoying was having to run long periods to get to places. Seemed to take like 5-10 minutes or longer to get from one quest location to another at the beginning, because the area is big. Not sure if it'll get worse than that later on for everything. It's not really a major deal, really. Chances are there'll be all kinds of ways to speed up travel later.
Ul'dah is my favorite starting area. The desert city with a market place and all that good stuff. I really loved the environment outside of the city, in the desert. The mountains far off into the distance and the general quality of everything were great, and I was wowed when the sandstorm hit. Loved that.
I don't really feel like typing much more, and you've all read about the other systems in the game by now, so no real need for me to talk about my small experience with guildleves and other stuff.
Definitely gonna have a good time with this game for a while. Though I have to run it on almost lowest settings with my 2 year old computer, otherwise it crashes a lot. Sometimes locks up my computer entirely.